The Land Of Losing … Weekend Cup O’Chiefs

The boys of summer took to the green grass of Florida and Arizona in the last few days. Another season has begun and the bucolic splendor of America’s past-its-time returns to the sports radar screen.

It’s the time of year where the seam-heads are ecstatic that baseball is working its way back for another season of 162 games, where in the immortal words of Crash Davis in the movie Bull Durham: “This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains.”

Down in Surprise, Arizona on Thursday, the Kansas City Royals had 38 pitchers and catchers working on Day No. 1. It was the kick off to another season where little is expected from the boys in blue. It’s been going on seven years since the Royals finished a season with a winning season and going on 25 years since they’ve made baseball’s post-season. In the just completed decade, the Royals were 672-948, with a .415 winning percentage.

The Chiefs are a long way from starting their 2010 season, but little is expected of the boys in red this fall. They are 10-38 in their last three seasons and have made the playoffs just twice in the last 12 years. They have not won a post-season game in the last 16 years.

To say that sports fans in Kansas City and its environs have been disappointed by their NFL and major league baseball teams is maybe the biggest understatement of the year. Over the last three years, the Royals have a .430 winning percentage (209-277) and the Chiefs have a .208 winning percentage (10-38).

That’s a combined record in the 2007-08-09 seasons of 219 victories, 315 defeats, a .410 winning percentage. Bad? That’s world-class bad. It has made Kansas City the “Land of Losing” when it comes to major professional sports. 

In the last three years, only one other city that has major league baseball and a team in the NFL has put their sports fans through more depression and losing than the Royals and Chiefs. That would be the fans of our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. The Nationals and Redskins have combined for a 212-321 record, a .398 winning percentage.

There’s more … in the last three seasons neither the Royals nor the Chiefs had a winning season. There’s only one other city that’s not experienced at least one season from their two teams where there were more victories than defeats. That’s Oakland, where the A’s and Raiders are a combined 240-293 in the last three seasons for a .450 winning percentage. But they never cracked than a .469 winning percentage in any of the six seasons (three each for baseball and football.)

Both the Royals and Chiefs have backgrounds that feature championships and Hall of Fame talent. But in the past decade those types of players have been few and far between; same for the winning. Besides sharing the Truman Sports Complex and the habit of losing, is there a common denominator in why both of these teams have fallen on such hard times?

We have to start right at the top with ownership. The Glass and Hunt Families run their teams with very similar approaches. Both franchises make money. With the Royals it’s the revenue sharing that flows down from teams like the Yankees, Red Sox and Cubs that allow Kansas City to finish in the black each year despite poor teams and mediocre attendance. In the NFL, it’s about impossible for a team to lose money; the franchise would have to be operated without any business sense for that to happen. That’s certainly not the case with the Chiefs.

Both organizations have at times been called cheap in the way they operate, especially when it comes to going after major free agents in their sports. But given the type of money the Chiefs have signed players for in recent years – QB Matt Cassel, No. 1 picks Tyson Jackson and Glenn Dorsey, Tony Gonzalez, Brian Waters, Priest Holmes, Larry Johnson – it’s very hard to call the Hunts cheap. With quite a few high draft choices, the Royals have dumped a lot of money on first-round draft choices as well.

The Royals and Chiefs have both reached into long-time winning operations in their sports to find general managers to run their franchises. In baseball, Dayton Moore came over from the Atlanta Braves, while Scott Pioli arrived from the New England Patriots. Both are trying to establish foundations where their teams will be built internally, rather than relying on free agents and outside players. That means they have to be correct when they draft and develop players; they can’t afford misjudgments and mistakes. That hasn’t been the case with either team, especially over the last three years.

All of this has led both teams to a point where neither one knows how to win. For the most part both teams work hard and put forth effort. But when it comes time to close out an opponent in the late innings or fourth quarter, they seldom can marshal the type of performances that lead to victory.

In today’s sports world, three years is an eternity and that’s what it seems like for fans of the Royals and Chiefs since they enjoyed not just winning, but championships. It’s a combined 66 seasons since either team won a championship. It’s been a combined 41 years since either team won a post-season game. In the last decade with 20 seasons of play, the teams had a combined four winning seasons.

God bless Kansas City sports fans … that they still exists is testimony to their involvement and interest in their teams. Sadly, it’s an unrequited love.

Why have the Royals and Chiefs both become the second worst professional sports tandem in the country? Let us know what you think by posting in comments the reasons you believe for their losing ways. We’ll address them in a future post.

THE LIST OF WINNERS AND LOSERS

Here are the cities with a major league baseball team and an NFL team and the combined records of those clubs in the past three seasons. Left out of the rankings were the Los Angeles Dodgers and Angels and Toronto in baseball (no NFL teams) and Buffalo, Carolina, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, New Orleans and Tennessee in football (no major league baseball.)

City MLB NFL

Total Record

Win%

Boston Red Sox 286-200, .589 Patriots 37-11, .771

323-211

.605

New York Yankees 286-200, .589 Giants 30-18, .625

216-218

.592

Philadelphia Phillies 274-212, .564 Eagles 28-19-1, .594

302-231-1

.567

Chicago Cubs 265-219, .548 Bears 23-25, .479

288-244

.541

Milwaukee Brewers 253-233, .521 Packers 30-18, .625

283-241

.5299

Minnesota Twins 254-234, .521 Vikings 30-18, .625

284-252

.5298

Denver Rockies 255-231, .525 Broncos 23-25, .479

278-256

.521

Dallas-FW Rangers 241-245, .496 Cowboys 33-15, .688

274-260

.513

Arizona D’Backs 242-244, .498 Cardinals 27-21, .563

269-265

.504

New York 2 Mets 247-239, .508 Jets 22-26, .458

269-265

.504

Tampa Bay Rays 247-239, .508 Bucs 21-27, .438

269-266

.503

Atlanta Braves 242-244, .498 Falcons 24-24, .500

266-268

.498

Chicago 2 White Sox 240-247, .493 Bears 23-25, .479

263-272

.492

Miami Marlins 242-243, .499 Dolphins 19-29, .396

261-272

.490

St. Louis Cardinals 255-231, .525 Rams 6-42, .125

261-273

.489

Cleveland Indians 242-244, .498 Browns 19-29, .396

261-273

.4887

San Diego Padres 227-259, .467 Chargers 32-16, .667

259-275

.485

Houston Astros 233-252, .480 Texans 25-23, .521

258-275

.484

Detroit Tigers 248-239, .509 Lions 9-39, .188

257-278

.480

Seattle Mariners 234-252, .482 Seahawks 19-29, .396

253-281

.474

San Francisco Giants 231-255, .475 49ers 20-28, .417

251-283

.470

Cincinnati Reds 224-262, .461 Bengals 21-26-1, .448

245-288-1

.460

Oakland A’s 226-259, .465 Raiders 14-34, .292

240-293

.450

Pittsburgh Pirates 197-288, .406 Steelers 31-17, .646

228-305

.428

Baltimore Orioles 201-284, .414 Ravens 25-23, .521

226-307

.424

Kansas City Royals 209-277, .430 Chiefs 10-38, .208

219-315

.410

Washington Nats 191-294, .394 Redskins 21-27, .438

212-321

.398

One-game playoffs for post-season berths in baseball are included in the team’s records. Due to rainouts that aren’t re-scheduled or replayed, some baseball teams do not play a full 162-game schedule.

VRABEL PLANS TO PLAY IN 2010 SAYS AGENT

When he left at the end of the 2009 season, LB Mike Vrabel made it plain that he was planning on playing at least another year. Vrabel will become an unrestricted free agent and he said in early January that he hoped to come back to the Chiefs “if they wanted him.”

This week, Vrabel’s agent made it clear that his client plans to play and he thinks there will be interest in the linebacker.

“He had a productive year,” agent Neil Cornrich told the Boston Globe. “He feels he has a number of productive seasons left. He loves playing in the NFL, he loves the game.

“He’ll probably continue with it in another capacity after he’s done playing, but he wants to continue as a player, as long as he can (help) a team win games.”

SIGNINGS, ADDITIONS, DELETIONS & MOVEMENT AROUND THE LEAGUE

  • NFL COMBINE – Missouri WR Danario Alexander will not take part after undergoing knee surgery earlier this week.
  • BENGALS – signed K Dave Rayner. He’s had stints with the Chiefs, Colts, Packers, Chargers and Redskins; signed WR Matt Jones (Jaguars).
  • BILLS – RT Brad Butler announced his retirement. Butler missed most of the ’09 season because o f a knee injury (ACL).

IT’S HAPPY BIRTHDAY … FOR A COUPLE OF KANSAS CITY GUYS, ONE HERE, ONE GONE

Born on February 19, 1941 in Kansas City was S Warren Powers (right). He was an all-state quarterback at Lillis High School and then went on to the University of Nebraska, where he played three seasons. Powers joined the Oakland Raiders as a rookie in 1963 and played six seasons with the silver and black. He appeared in 63 games and had 22 interceptions, returning two for touchdowns. Powers started in Super Bowl II against Green Bay. He would eventually become the head coach at the University of Missouri, where he replaced Al Onofrio. Powers directed the Tigers for seven years (1978-84), posting a 46-33-3 record with a 3-2 record in bowl games. In 1978 he was selected the Walter Camp Coach of the Year. He was replaced as head coach by Woody Widenhofer.

And born on February 19, 1956 in Springfield, Illinois was K/P Steve Little (left). He graduated from Shawnee Mission South High School and went on to the University of Arkansas where h e was twice named All-America as a kicker. With the Razorbacks he made 53 of 89 field goals and was seven of 13 on kicks of 50 yards or longer; he tied the NCAA record with a 67-yard FG against Texans in 1977. Little was selected in the first round of the 1978 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals, the second highest kicker taken in the league’s annual draft as he was picked with the 15th selection. He played three seasons with the Cardinals, where he averaged 38.5 yards on 125 punts and made 13 of 27 field goal attempts, with a career long of 51 yards. He was released by the Cardinals in 1980 after six games. About 16 hours later, around 3 a.m. on October 17, his car skidded 125 feet on a rain-slicked I-270 and ran into the posts of an exit sign. He suffered a broken neck and the incident left him a quadriplegic, although he gained back some minimal movement in his right arm; Little survived for 19 more years, before passing away on September 6, 1999 in a Little Rock, Arkansas hospice.


23 Responses to “The Land Of Losing … Weekend Cup O’Chiefs”

  • February 19, 2010  - gorillafan says:

    Nice inside scoop on Vrabel, Thats the stuff I like to read. Thanks for reporting it.

    And yes, we are losers, I cant really say the Royals are coming around, but I can see it coming very quickly for our CHIEFS!!


  • February 19, 2010  - SG says:

    “Why have the Royals and Chiefs both become the second worst professional sports tandem in the country? Let us know what you think by posting in comments the reasons you believe for their losing ways. We’ll address them in a future post.”

    So Bob, are we planning to interview with CBS to take Shannon Sharpe’s job or are we trying to get a job with the Oakland newspaper?


  • February 19, 2010  - KC explant says:

    Nice article, good read about a pain I am all too familiar with.
    But the math puts a lot of weight on the baseball record and masks the football teams’ record (since baseball plays 10 times as many games as football). If you take an average of the BB and FB win percentages, Kansas City is dead last:
    City Avg %
    Boston 0.680
    New York 0.607
    Dallas-FW 0.592
    Philadelphia 0.579
    Milwaukee 0.573
    Minnesota 0.573
    San Diego 0.567
    Arizona 0.531
    Pittsburgh 0.526
    Chicago 0.514
    Denver 0.502
    Houston 0.501
    Atlanta 0.499
    Chicago 2 0.486
    New York 2 0.483
    Tampa Bay 0.473
    Baltimore 0.468
    Cincinnati 0.455
    Miami 0.448
    Cleveland 0.447
    San Francisco 0.446
    Seattle 0.439
    Washington 0.416
    Oakland 0.379
    Detroit 0.349
    St. Louis 0.325
    Kansas City 0.319


  • February 19, 2010  - Dester says:

    The math is flawed. As baseball plays many more games the way bob calculated the statistics baseball counts for about 90% of the win/loss ratio.

    So football really doesnt’ count much when calculating the end result. Take st. louis and detroit for example of being higher then they should and dallas san diego and pittsburgh as being to low on the list.

    If you averaged the win % of each team in each city then you get a closer pic and its even grimmer for the chiefs… at .319
    next closest is St. louis at .325
    then detroit at .3485

    Something else to consider … Baseball tends to not have the sharp peeks and valleys of Footballs win/ loss ratio due to the 162 game schedule.

    Food for thought


  • February 19, 2010  - jimbo says:

    Unless we can rule out some sort of conspiracy theory, who knows for sure.
    Both teams obviously have had their day in the sun. It’s been cloudy & rainy in KC for many years. We have an excellent fan base considering the finished product of both teams each year. Last year for the Royals it was Cy Young winner Zack Grienke, he was a joy to watch. The Chiefs hired a Heralded new GM & a no nonsense and unproven Head Coach.
    The continued belief by us KC fans, that this year or next year will be our breakout season has been going on for decades. Quite simply put, KC is a sports town, we Love our teams & at times they have made us proud.
    Why they are doing so poorly of late is a good question. My best guess… All players are bought & sold like cattle. Owners keep the best stock for breeding purposes & dispose of the lesser quality beef to a different stockyard. Players don’t have a real sense of loyalty to any one team or City. They are simply sold to the highest bidder for yet another year of entertaining the fans. Alot of the players rent Homes on 1 year leases & live somewhere else that they call home. I don’ know the statistics on how long the average player is on any one team, but I’m sure it is not long.
    No Duration or Loyalty. IMO.
    Go Chiefs & Royals.


  • February 19, 2010  - Mad Chief says:

    I think it’s nothing more than cycles. Most professional sports teams are up for awhile…then down for awhile. It’s much harder to stay at the top of a “cycle”, than it is to stay at the bottom…I will say that much.

    I think the Chiefs are ready to get back on the upswing.

    The Royals? Meh. I don’t follow baseball that closely anymore…even though I take my son to games frequently. Hopefully, they will get things together sometime soon. I would love for my son to have the experience of seeing a World Series winner like I did. Memories like that stay with you for a lifetime.


  • February 19, 2010  - Chiefsfan63 says:

    Basically, it comes down to poor personnel decisions for both the Royals and the Chiefs. It all starts at the top. Both teams have made some very poor draft decisions and in the Royals case, can’t keep the talent when they find it, due to free agency and their tightwad budget.


  • February 19, 2010  - gorillafan says:

    I know you cant buy wins with money, but we dont spend it, and we dont win it, so…….


  • February 19, 2010  - Hondo Cat says:

    For the Chiefs, lack of continuity


  • February 19, 2010  - bigvess says:

    David Glass is a joke and Clark Hunt has promise.The Walmart Royals are going to be the same again in the cellar of the basement. Until Glass spend more money and bring in some powerful hitters that goes along with the promise of young guns pitching this team can be respected. Glass you have to spend money to make money!!!And as for the Chiefs it looks promising on paper with the coaching staff but like Parcells says I can’t make the meal without the groceries. That means to me when free agency comes next month buy the groceries that is needed to make a tasty meal. I want the players that are going to take this team to the next level under this staff the next few years.I am tired in living in loserville and become the butt jokes on every media outlet.


  • February 19, 2010  - Danny W says:

    Have faith guys those Royals are gonna be good soon they picked up Ankiel he’ll help out some. Good young pitching staff. They will catch fire and so will the Chiefs. Any you guy here about the rumor floating around Clevend? I guess if Bradford is still at five they may want to make a deal with K.C. to swap out for a 3rd round pick and Shaun Rogers. Some one even said they may throw in Quinn too they like Bradford so much. I think it sounds like a deal too good to be true but I would swap straight up with picks for Brady Quinn or just Shaun Rogers, what do you guys think is that stupid or good thinking?


  • February 19, 2010  - Danny W says:

    I need to clarify on the Quinn thing I think he would make a solid backup and definately push our 63 million dollar man for a number one position. If Matt goes down I mean Quinn has the intangibles to be good. I would definately rather have Rogers though he is a genuine NT. Go Chiefs Go Royals. Keep the faith.


  • February 20, 2010  - Stiv says:

    .
    Personally I find the exercise of trying to fold baseball and football into one point or discussion to be a cumbersome undertaking and in the end unproductive. The games and the leagues are very different and operate under different realities.

    As far as the Chiefs go, their problems have always been obvious. They don’t draft well and haven’t historically done a good job of finding talent at critical positions, such as WR and QB. Add to this that Carl Peterson stayed at his post about 10 years longer than he should have and you end up where they are now.

    Peterson should have been replaced after the Gunther as head coach fiasco.

    I’m optimistic about the new regime. Clark/Pioli/Haley, and the staff they’ve put together look good to me. Now they need to follow through and do as good a job putting players in place and the Chiefs will be contenders again.

    This years draft is critical for Pioli, we have high value picks and this years draft class is supposedly loaded with talent. Scott has his own scouting dept. in place now so there are no excuses.

    Go Chiefs!


  • February 20, 2010  - Danny W says:

    Stiv
    Good post I agree with all that my man.


  • February 20, 2010  - bigvess says:

    Not bad as far as the Cleveland deal. I think Cassel will benefit in having Weis as the coordinator look what he did with Brady . Lightning can strike twice with Cassel. If Cassel will stop holding the ball too long if we can get that dependable tight end we need to get open he will limit holding the ball too long. I admit that Cassel did make a lot of mistakes last season but he will grow . I like his mobility in getting out of trouble. I still would not of paid him that kind of money though.


  • February 20, 2010  - Big Lee says:

    Both teams seem to be rebuilding the right way, in regards to their financial situations. Glass has invested a lot of money in draft picks that will take time to develop. Why throw money down a rat hole now; save it until the young studs come around, and then build in the veteran pieces needed. Chiefs will be okay, too, if the Patriot way can be replicated. Cassel is not the problem, folks. This team is still bereft of talent, but in NFL I’m not sure why you don’t spend money, as talent develops and fades much quicker than it does in baseball.


  • February 21, 2010  - ThunderChief says:

    Call it the ethereal chemistry of winning. That quality, more than anything I submit, is what allows teams to rise enmasse to high levels of achievement when other teams with even more talent can’t get over the hump.

    Call it E-Chem for short. When a team has it, they catch fire, expect to win, and the players feed off it while exhorting their team mates to higher performance. Recently, we saw this happen with the Saints.

    Think back to the glory days of the Chiefs and Royals. Was E-Chem present? I think so. How to get it again? If I knew the answer to that, I’d be a mega-Million$ consultant of some kind, but submit it starts with having a few guys on the team unafraid of leading.

    How many true leaders do you find on any team roster these days? True leaders. Those that lead by example-deeds-words-actions? Those that hold themselves, their team mates and even their coaches accountable? Not many, if any and therein lies the core issue or so it seems to me.


  • February 21, 2010  - RatsoReily says:

    Look at Minnesota and Milwaukee as examples of mid-market teams doing well. Great examples that market size is not the determining factor. To me, it comes down to coaching … evaluating talent, developing them and then demanding that they perform. We’re not going to write a check to have a quality team (like New York) we really do need to draft smart and then have an excellent coaching staff that can develop young players. I do think the Chief’s ownership has shown a strong commitment to winning with the coaching staff Pioli/Haley has put together. So I expect to see a huge improvment in the Chief’s next year. After looking at last year’s draft (Jackson, Maggee, Washington, Brown, Lawrence, O’Connell,Succop) it’s apparent that we didn’t do a good job in the draft. I think when a kicker is your best draftee something has went horribly wrong. Hopefully that’ll get that corrected this year.


  • February 21, 2010  - RatsoReily says:

    I’ve been doing some reading on the 2009 Draft results and there’s only 1 team that grades worse than the Chief’s .. the Oakland Raiders .. thank god for the Raiders. We received a D rating and Oakland an F ! When you’ve got the challenges that the Chief’s have how can you let an entire draft go down the drain? I know Pioli/Haley were new but come on .. come on! I sincerely believe I could of done a better job drafting than Pioli/Haley did. Now how pathetic is that? Maybe Jackson will develop into a good player but he was our number 1 pick ..


  • February 21, 2010  - Danny W says:

    Ratso
    My sentaments exactly. I think its pretty clear that this draft goes like the last one and there is gonna be some upset people around Missouri. That was a huge reach I still stick to that and have since it happened. I’m not saying the guy is a bust but he is not worth that pick or that money. Now the Chiefs can draft starters in all five rounds if you ask me this year. I dont want to see any projects were its well maybe he’ll develop maybe he wont. Like lets say they draft Dan Williams number five overall. He is projected to go late one maybe early two, just like Tyson Jackson. The excuses will come pooring in for the guy oh D linemen need atleast two years to develop then after the second year pundits will say oh D lineman need three years to develop before we can say they are a bust. Safe bet is Offensive line. It is a glaring need for our highest payed franchise player of the franchise. If they pick up Berry at safety which is a good pick they can still get a solid line man at round 2 Charles Brown of USC or Vladimer Ducasse in the 3rd. The only people that will not be reaches at the fith pick is Eric Berry and Russel Okung. If they cant snag one of those two trade down. If they cant trade down then Rolondo McClain will be fine. Not Dan Williams. Please do not reach and look for Dan williams and definately not Terrance Cody.


  • February 21, 2010  - el cid says:

    Know it will not appear, bob. But the Chiefs cannot hide behind the great devil, Carl, after this draft. Pioli wet on himself with the last draft and I do not expect much else from him.


  • February 21, 2010  - PnS says:

    You know for all the dollars spent by teams…..then some teams have total busts.I have seen Kiper & Mcshay call a perfect draft for sometime now.Why go away from there call.Just go with the best player at your pick ……How can you go wrong …..over time you well win.


  • February 24, 2010  - Rin Tin Tin says:

    Great post, Bob! It’s great to hear Vrabel will be coming back for 2010.




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